Former President Jacob Zuma has accused the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture of using his children against him.

In a strongly-worded statement, Zuma described as utter cowardice attempts to target his children by way of, what he called, clandestine investigations into matters that have nothing to do with them.

He referenced last week’s Sunday Times report which alleged that the Commission has subpoenaed his children’s bank accounts. According to the article, the country’s major South African banks have been ordered to provide bank records dating back to 2016.

In the statement, the former President pleaded with law enforcement agencies, media, banks and the Zondo Commission to leave his children alone. He said they were not in government and should not be dragged into battles designed to destroy him.

Zuma said this harassment of his children is a declaration of war, which he will fight with all he has.

Zuma vs Zondo

In September, Zuma asked State Capture Commission Chairperson, Deputy Chief Judge Raymond Zondo, to recuse himself as the chair. In a letter his lawyer Eric Mabuza sent to the commission, Zuma says he feels that Zondo is biased against him and therefore, must step aside and allow a different judge to preside over the State Capture Commission.

This followed Zondo’s unwillingness to negotiate with Zuma and his legal team on a date when he should appear before the commission. The Deputy Chief Justice said Zuma would be summoned to appear from 16 to 20 November as many of the witnesses have mentioned his name during their evidence on state capture and the Guptas.

State Capture Commission issues new dates for Jacob Zuma’s appearance: 

Some politicians and analysts said they believe the utterances by Zuma were tantamount to an attack on the judiciary.

Earlier in October, Zondo ordered summons to be issued for Zuma to appear before the Commission. He, however, made a concession for the former President, allowing him to give his evidence virtually. The former President is now compelled to appear before the Commission from the 16 to 20 November.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo issues Jacob Zuma with a summons to appear at the inquiry: